Febuary 19th

This week, we ventured into the world of psychic communications and spiritual mediums as part of our foray to understand more of what lies beyond our physical existence. After reading on the biographies and life histories of several spiritual mediums, there seems to me to be a common thread: that they generally claim to use their work for the greater good; for the healing and comfort of others. For them, the ability to be able to offer other people reassurance and hope is in itself an extremely rewarding experience for them. Nonetheless, their discovery of their ‘skills’ come in different forms; some of them noticed their abilities manifesting from an early age, while others gained awareness and became attuned to the spiritual world after a traumatic event or spiritual awakening (‘meeting an angelic being’ etc.). In terms of their lifestyles, many of these mediums are themselves heavily involved in becoming spiritually educated, through their own spiritual teachers, meditation, or through seeking other forms of spiritual enlightenment.

Previously, I was rather skeptical of the idea of mediums or psychics, believing them to be mere con men whom make use of mentalist techniques to appeal to the emotions and subjective reasoning of their clients. However, after hearing the stories that some of these mediums present, including those that came to our class, I decided to approach this topic with more of an open mind. After all, it seems that many of these mediums previously held professional positions, in occupations such as psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers, but chose instead to pursue their understanding and usage of their ‘gifts’. Their unique perspectives and descriptions of the world beyond the material were somewhat compelling and piqued my interest. One of the things that stood out to me was how they described their interactions with the spiritual world, in terms of the ‘energy’ that revolves around and within all of us. This is certainly a fascinating concept that can be potentially congruent with scientific discourse, considering how much we already know exists that we cannot see.

Relevant to this week’s assignment, I picked out two mediums whom I read up on that I thought had representative stories. The first is Derek Acorah, an internationally known medium who had achieved success on television, radio and personal appearances across the world. Derek was first exposed to his spiritual abilities at a young age when he met the spirit of his late grandfather. He began to foster his abilities with the help of his grandmother, herself also a medium, and eventually began life as a full time spirit medium in his hometown of Liverpool. As the years passed, his popularity grew from being a small town psychic to an international sensation through a number of media appearances, that led him on the road to becoming one of the most well-known mediums in this age. On the other spectrum of the limelight, I found the story of Adrienne DeSalvo: a medium whom resides in the city of New York. As a youth, Adrienne frequently experienced lucid and precognitive dreams, but her abilities did not manifest much more than so. She found work as a legal secretary and at the same time dedicated her life to gaining knowledge becoming educated in all aspects of life. Unfortunately, one day Adrienne was diagnosed with brain tumor, for which she received treatment. It was after this experience that she began to embark on a spiritual awakening and training to develop her mediumship. Now, she commits her life to serve and help others heal as a spiritual counselor and psychic medium.

In essence, from the myriad of biographies I have perused it is apparent that these stories can often come in multiple shapes, sizes or forms. The process of unlocking these ‘inner’ spiritual abilities can be complicated for some but more natural for others. Regardless, it is insightful for us to learn more about these mediums in our attempt to understand the metaphysical world.

One thought on “Febuary 19th

  1. Krista Erickson

    Long Island Medium: Theresa Caputo

    In addition to a Psychology major, I’m also a Communication studies major, so Theresa Caputo, more commonly known as “Long Island Medium” naturally intrigues me. In the Communication Studies field at Michigan we study the media, its changing landscape, and its effects. During the guest lecture on Monday, either Melissa or Rita mentioned the T.V. show Long Island Medium and its potential implications for mainstream viewing. As extraordinary psychic experiences are becoming widely accepted—or at least considered—I wonder how this affects viewers’ attitudes. More importantly, is there a shift in beliefs and attitudes toward psychic experience because of the mainstream shows? It would be interesting to conduct a study to find out how shows like Crossing Over with John Edward, Long Island Medium, and the like have impacted viewers, so maybe this is some future research to consider.

    Either Melissa or Rita talked about how Theresa is a real medium, but the show is extremely staged—like any reality show. However, I wonder if this affects viewers’ perception of psychic experience. Because most viewers are aware of the staging in reality T.V., it’s possible that viewers also see Theresa’s powers to be a part of this dramatic scheme. Although Long Island Medium may be reinforcing ideas, it could also be causing viewers to become more critical due to the reality show atmosphere.

    As I listened/read interviews with Theresa, her description of her powers seems to align with literature and personal accounts from friends—and the way she presents it seems authentic. Her over-the-top personality is perfect for T.V., and until more research is done, I think that spreading these kinds of ideas via T.V. is a great start to integrating extraordinary experiences into media.

    http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/11/01/long-island-medium-real/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkPK5At-LHs

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